Commercial HVAC Trouble: When It’s the Thermostat’s Fault

Friday, January 30th, 2015

When your commercial HVAC system isn’t working properly, you’re most likely going to get an earful from clients, customers, tenants, and/or employees. These people expect you to provide them with enough cooling or heating power to stay comfortable while on your property, whether it’s for 8 hours at a time or for a quick shopping trip. So if you want to improve work morale and keep clients and customers returning, you need to fix your unit quickly.

Fixing a large commercial unit may be an ordeal, especially if no one has looked at your commercial unit in quite some time. Because some business owners or managers may be concerned about the cost, they often try to look into the situation themselves. You should keep in mind, however, that repairing a large commercial HVAC system is very difficult—a task that even many residential HVAC technicians prefer not to take on. While most commercial heating and air conditioning problems should be addressed by a technician, there is one thing you should check before calling a professional: the thermostat.

If your thermostat has controlled the temperature in the building proficiently ever since you’ve managed the property, you may not assume that this part could be responsible for any mechanical issues. But it’s best to double- and triple-check the thermostat before calling for backup. Nearly every technician has a story about showing up to a home or business only to find that a child has messed with the thermostat settings or that it was never turned on in the first place.

Ask yourself the following questions while examining your thermostat:

  • Is the thermostat switched into the right mode? Is it set on “heating” or “cooling” as needed?
  • Is there a program in place that may have shut off the heating unit for the time being?
  • Is the thermostat set to today’s date and time? Many thermostats are programmed to turn on and off at certain times of day.
  • Are you locked out of the thermostat? Check your manufacturer’s guide to learn how to re-access the controls.

Sometimes, the settings on the thermostat are at fault, but other times a thermostat is malfunctioning due to improper wiring or a faulty sensor. In most circumstances, you’ll have to call in a professional for repairs.

Contact Cool Air Mechanical when you’re in need of commercial HVAC repair service, especially if changing the settings is not enough. Call us today!

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Heat Pump Repair Problems: The Check Valves

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Although heat pumps work on a simple concept—moving heat from one location and depositing it in another—they are extremely intricate machines that depend on numerous precision components working in harmonious balance. Even a basic schematic of a heat pump shows how many different parts one requires to function. This is why you cannot rely on amateurs for repair work on a heat pump, or attempt to make repairs a “do-it-yourself” adventure. The chances are high that your heat pump will sustain damage from an incorrect repair and end up working worse than before—or not working at all.

Fixing a heat pump is fast and easy when you call for experienced HVAC technicians to take on the job. Cool Air Mechanical offers 24/7 heat pump repair to Lawrenceville, GA and throughout the greater Atlanta area. When you need your heat pump working again, make us your first call.

Is a check valve the problem?

One of the components in a heat pump that will give the unit trouble if it malfunctions is the check valves. Because heat pumps can move refrigerant two different directions through the system (one direction for heating mode, the other for cooling), they need devices in them to help direct the refrigerant flow. Not all heat pumps have check valves, but those that do have two, one each in the outdoor and indoor units. The purpose of these valves is to route refrigerant around metering devices that are not in use. This helps the system maintain proper refrigerant pressure no matter which mode it is in. Most modern heat pumps have check valves as part of the metering devices themselves. They are durable so they can withstand a heavy reversal of the refrigerant flow pressure, something that often happens when the heat pump completes its defrost cycle.

Like any mechanical component, a check valve can wear down and break. When this occurs, it can result in a heat pump that will not provide either heating or cooling. Professionals can remove the broken check valve (or check valve and metering device combination) and replace it with a new one. Problems with check valves can also resemble trouble with the reversing valve, so make certain that you have skilled technician on the job so the right repair gets done.

Never hesitate when you think your heat pump is encountering trouble. You can reach the Lawrenceville, GA heat pump repair experts at Cool Air Mechanical any time of the day or night, and they will get your comfort system back into shape. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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3 Common Air Conditioning Repairs

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Here at Cool Air Mechanical, we know it’s summer when the phones start to ring. Air conditioners work extra hard in the Georgia heat, and, as a result, some may run into problems. If you need air conditioning repair this summer, you’re not alone. Here are 3 of the most common air conditioning repairs our technicians encounter here in Lawrenceville.

1. Refrigerant Leak

One of the most common air conditioning repairs is a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant continuously moves through your AC system to remove heat from your home and release it outdoors. There’s a set level at which the refrigerant is meant to remain at all times. If this level ever changes, the exchange of heat may be unable to take place, and your unit won’t be able to properly cool your home. Refrigerant sometimes escapes from your AC system through a small leak, which a professional technician can locate and correct.

2. Frozen Evaporator Coil

An air conditioning unit is designed to accommodate a certain amount of airflow. If the airflow changes for any reason, such as a blocked duct or a dirty air filter, the evaporator coil may freeze. The evaporator coil, located inside your home, helps to evaporate the refrigerant so it can take in heat. When freezing occurs, a technician will not only take care of the frozen coil but will also look for the source of the problem, so the unit is less likely to run into airflow issues in the future.

3. Faulty Thermostat

A faulty thermostat is often the root of your AC problems. If your air conditioner won’t run, or if it does not turn on and off at the proper times, it may just mean that your thermostat is not functioning properly, so that your system cannot sense when to turn on and off. A technician can check for problems with the sensor or other wiring issues during a service call.

When your AC needs repair, don’t stress. At Cool Air Mechanical, we’ve seen it all. Call us any time of the day for AC service in Lawrenceville.

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Is a Packaged Air Conditioning Unit Better Than a Split System?

Friday, June 13th, 2014

For cooling down a home during the summer, the standard method is a “split system” central air conditioner. A split system AC uses two cabinets, one indoors and one outdoors. The indoor cabinet houses the evaporator coil and the air handler. It connects through a refrigerant line and power line to the outdoor unit, which contains the condenser coil, compressor, and fan.

There is another configuration option, one that is common for businesses, but which professionals can also install for a home: packaged air conditioning. These systems only have one cabinet, usually stored outside (they can also be placed inside, but outdoors is more common). The cabinet contains all the components: the compressor, condenser, evaporator, blower, fan, and the necessary electrical parts.

Which type of system should you have for your air conditioning installation in Lawrenceville, GA? That depends on a number of factors: neither is inherently better than the other, but for your home one of them is probably the superior choice. Contact Cool Air Mechanical to speak to our installers to find out which choice will deliver you the best cooling this summer.

Why Choose a Packaged Air Conditioner

The biggest advantage of going with a packaged AC is convenience. Repair and maintenance on these systems is a snap for professionals, since they only have to work with one cabinet and can easily locate problems and repair them, and maintenance sessions will go by fast. They also cost less to install (only one cabinet to place), and with all the components stored in one location—usually outdoors—they save space.

Why Choose a Split Air Conditioner

In general, split air conditioning systems are more efficient: packaged air conditioners cannot achieve the same high SEER that the best split ACs can. The most efficient split air conditioners can reach an astonishing 23 SEER. By comparison, packaged units have a range of 10–18 SEER. Since many homes are designed with a split system already in mind, they are often more convenient to install than a packaged air conditioner.

The Deciding Factor

When it comes to your home, which system wins out? The factor that will make the difference is your home’s layout. A newer home will probably have construction to fit with a split system because they are geared toward energy savings—and the packaged air conditioner lags behind in this regard. Older homes, however, can benefit enormously from the space-saving power of a packaged AC. Ask your installer which type of air conditioning system is best for your house.

Cool Air Mechanical has the experience and skill to pick out the ideal system for your air conditioning system in Lawrenceville, GA this summer. Whether packaged or split, the AC we install will be the right one for you—and it will be installed right as well.

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Atlanta Air Conditioning Repair: My Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

Monday, April 29th, 2013

There are numerous reasons why an air conditioner won’t turn on. With professional installation and maintenance, your AC should run well for years, but there may come a time when it’s endured sufficient wear and tear to warrant professional repair. For Atlanta air conditioning repair, call the excellent technicians at Cool Air Mechanical today!

Let’s take a look at why your AC won’t turn on.

  • Thermostat: First, check your thermostat to make sure that it seems to be operating correctly, and that it is calling for cool air. This sounds obvious, but someone in your household may have accidentally changed the settings. If that doesn’t help, your thermostat may have a connectivity problem. If it’s wired, then it could mean a faulty wiring somewhere between the thermostat device and the AC unit itself; if it’s wireless, then the signal may be getting blocked by some material. You may need a new thermostat.
  • Electrical problem: As you well know, your AC needs electricity to operate, so if you’re AC is not turning on, it’s likely due to an electrical malfunction of some type. First, check that you haven’t blown a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker. If that doesn’t help, then there are numerous possible reasons. You may have a bad capacitor, or you may have a damaged wire in the electrical supply line. If you hear buzzing, then that might be a sign that you have a dangerous electrical arcing issue.
  • Other considerations: Your AC may have just called it quits. The compressor motor may have burned out, or there may be another serious problem with the mechanical system. Make sure you have your AC regularly inspected so that you can pre-emptively take action before breakdowns occur and you’re left with a hot home in the middle of the Atlanta summer.

Call Cool Air Mechanical for excellent, comprehensive Atlanta air conditioning repair if your AC won’t turn on.

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Atlanta Air Conditioning Question: What Are Thermostatic Expansion Valves?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Your Atlanta air conditioner is a complex piece of equipment that can frustrate a homeowner who just wants to understand how it works to better maintain it. To help at least in a small way with this frustration, this post addresses one of the more mysterious and less obvious parts in the air conditioning mystery: thermostatic expansion valves.

A thermostatic expansion valve – sometimes just called a “TEV” – is a smallish valve adjacent to the cooling coil in your AC system. It connects the incoming refrigerant line and the inlet to the cooling coil. Think of it as a gateway for the refrigerant as it comes from the outside, through the lines and is about to enter the air handler at the cooling coil.

Just like a gatekeeper, the TEV’s job is to control what is allowed to enter. It metes the refrigerant into the cooling coil, so that just the right amount gets through. This is important, because having either too much or too little refrigerant circulating through the cooling coil can cause big drop in the performance of your air conditioner, as well as lead to potential damage and necessary repairs.

The TEV is different from some other valves in that it cannot be manually opened or closed as part of the air conditioner’s normal operation. Instead of being like a switch that can be flicked on and off, the TEV plays the role of a meter device, regulating the amount of refrigerant flowing through it and into the cooling coil at any one time.

When the thermostatic expansion valve is not working properly, you may experience AC problems like insufficient cooling, frozen or frosted cooling coils or other performance problems. A licensed Atlanta air conditioning technician will know how to diagnose and fix problems with thermostatic expansion valves. For any problems with your air conditioner, give Cool Air Mechanical a call!

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Atlanta AC Tip: Save Energy and Save Money This Summer

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Though we hate to admit it, we all do it without thinking: turn our Atlanta AC higher instead of turning on a fan, or forget about the thermostat settings which are set to full-blast when we are not at home.  Oftentimes it is the simple things which can have the most impact, and with saving energy this is true as well.

Households throughout the US will spend somewhere between $1,200 and $2,200 per year on energy costs.  With the cost of living in many areas of life skyrocketing, it’s nice to know there are some easy ways to lower at least one household bill: the energy bill.  Of course, some of these fixes are free, and some cost a little time and energy, while others must be paid for as long-term investments.

 Free, Do-It-Yourself Energy Solutions

These quick and easy, do-it-yourself, no cost solutions produce energy saving results almost immediately!

  • Adjust the air conditioning thermostat to higher numbers, such as 78 while at home and 85 or higher when away.  Supplement AC usage with a ceiling or room fan, as moving air feels cooler on the skin.
  • Eliminate wasted energy by turning off appliances, lights, and equipment when not in use, unplug electronic chargers when not in use, and get rid of spare appliances such as refrigerators which are plugged in but not in use.
  • Put those dishwashing gloves away and let the dishwasher do the dirty-work!  Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand.  In addition, let the dishes air-dry rather than running through the heat-cycle to save even more.
  • Do laundry more efficiently by washing and rinsing in only cold water, and line dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Use the microwave to cook and not only speed up the cooking process, but use two-thirds less energy than a stove or conventional oven.

 Low-Cost, Economical Energy Solutions

Most of these energy saving options can be procured at the local hardware store, are fairly inexpensive, and can be easily done by any competent home-owner.

  • Replace HVAC filters regularly, according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Weather-proof your home by plugging air leaks on doors and windows with weather stripping, sealant, or caulk where applicable.
  • Purchase and install ENERGY STAR® certified products such as porch lights, floor and table lamps, pocket lights, and even programmable thermostats to ensure energy using items are using as little energy as possible.

 Invest in Energy Solutions

If it is important to you to save energy and money long-term and on a larger scale, there are a number of durable energy-saving investments to consider.

  • Purchase new windows, a new air-conditioning unit, refrigerator, or other household appliances which use less energy than older units
  • Install window and house shading such as patio covers, or strategically plant trees to shade the home during peak times of heat
  • Install a whole house fan which can suck cool air into the home after sundown or in the early morning in order to cool the entire house thus reducing air conditioning usage
  • Seal and insulate all household ducts in crawl spaces and attics
  • Increase or upgrade attic insulation to higher than the standard grade to keep housing temperatures more constant

To save energy also means to save money, and by following any of the simple steps listed above the average consumer can save energy and save money almost immediately.

For more information on how to save on cooling in Atlanta, give Cool Air Mechanical a call today!

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Tips to Make Your Atlanta HVAC System More Efficient

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Considering the fact that up to half of the energy used in a home goes toward heating and cooling, it is smart to make sound decisions regarding the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.   Below are some tips to make your Atlanta HVAC system more efficient:

Regularly Maintain HVAC Equipment

Annual tune-ups of heating and cooling systems can easily improve HVAC system efficiency. Some of these steps a professional tech will do include:

  • Ensure outdoor unit has proper ventilation, is free of debris or foliage growth, and is located in the shade
  • Check thermostat settings for comfort while home and to save energy while away
  • Tighten electrical connections and measure voltage and currents on motors
  • Lubricate all moving parts
  • Inspect and clean out the condensate drain on central air conditioning units
  • Check controls of the system for proper operation

Change Air Filters

Many air filters should be changed every three months, but some as often as every month.  Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation as well as simple common sense by checking the filters frequently during high-usage times and replacing as necessary.

Seal All Household Ducts

Heating and cooling ducts can be huge energy wasters if they are improperly sealed.  These ducts can be in an attic, basement, crawlspace, or garage, and can be easily repaired with duct sealant, or metal-backed tape along seams and connections.  As well, wrapping the ducts in insulation will keep them from overheating in the summer or freezing in the winter.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can control how hot or cold a home is every hour of every day within a week.  During the summer they can be set to higher settings while residents are away on vacation, and during winter they can be set to lower settings while residents are away at work or school.  This is a great way to save on energy costs throughout the year, as keeping a more consistent house temperature also helps the HVAC system to run more smoothly.

Install ENERGY STAR® Certified Equipment

When an HVAC system is more than ten years old, or if it no longer works properly it is probably time for a replacement.  Prior to replacing an entire HVAC system, it is prudent to check for air leaks in ducts, which can be a major cause for heating and cooling issues.  If it is determined that it is time for a professional to come in and install a new HVAC system, the savings in energy will be quite dramatic indeed.

Use any or all of the above tips will make your Atlanta heating and air conditioning system more efficient, while saving you money throughout the peak seasons of heating and cooling usage.

Give Cool Air Mechanical a call today if you need any help choosing upgrades for your home’s HVAC system!

 

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